tv PBS News Hour PBS August 24, 2016 3:00pm-4:00pm PDT
captioning sponsored by newshour productions, llc >> woodruff: good evening. i'm judy woodruff. >> sreenivasan: and i'm hari sreenivasan. on the newshour tonight, a powerful earthquake hits central italy, toppling towns and leaving more than 150 dead, as rescuers scramble to save those stuck under the rubble. >> woodruff: also ahead this wednesday, a look at the inner workings of the clinton foundation with its president, and why its become so controversial for the democratic party's nominee. >> sreenivasan: and a popular destination for tourists, iceland is becoming home to refugees fleeing wars. how the close-knit island is adapting to an influx of outsiders. >> i think of our country as just part of the global village. nobody can decide where they're born, and i think everyone should have a fair chance. >> woodruff: all that and more, on tonight's pbs newshour.
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in the quake. they were able to pull some people from the rubble, but others remain trapped. >> ( translated ): i heard people asking for help, people calling out, asking for help, but in this condition, what could i do? i've been to the centre and it's all in rubble. >> ( translated ): we came out to the piazza, and it looked like dante's inferno. people crying for help, help. >> woodruff: the 6.2 magnitude earthquake hit in the middle of the night, just after 3:30 a.m. it was felt across central italy, but the tiny towns of amatrice, accumoli, and pescara del tronto were hardest hit. italian prime minister matteo renzi arrived in amatrice late today. earlier, he promised the area his full support. >> ( translated ): the
>> woodruff: it's slow work for the rescue workers, who are combing the wreckage for survivors, often times using only their hands. >> ( translated ): we need chainsaws, shears to cut iron bars, and jacks to remove beams-- everything. we need everything. >> woodruff: the hard work paid off in accumoli, where a 65-year-old man was pulled out of the rubble after nine hours. ( applause ) applause followed the man as he was loaded into an ambulance. we get an on-the-scene report now from special correspondent christopher livesay, who is in amitrice, italy. we spoke a short time ago. christopher livsay, welcome. first of all, you've been there all day long. what are you seeing? >> well, i'm seeing what looks like the aftermath of a war zone. the imagery all around me is much more similar from what we're seeing come out of places like aleppo and syria, not the
idyllic hillside town of amatrice. normally this is a place where tourists go to escape the heat during the summer, especially the month of august, which in italy is the national month of vacations. so a town of normally 2,000 people had twice the population this time of year, only increasing the amount of injuries and fatalities unfortunately. >> woodruff: when people think of italy, they think of history. just how widespread was the damage? >> the damage stretches all the way from the west coast to the east coast. i mean, you want a sense of history and culture, just look behind me at the church of st. augustine. it dates back to the 14th century. half of it is collapsed right before your eyes. only the beltre is really standing. that's rather indicative of the damage that stretches all across central italy, not just here in the region around rome, but also the nearby region of umbria, which has a number of heritage
sites, not just in that region but all across central italy, buildings that range from the middle ages to the renaissance. there's going to be all types of loss, not just of life, but, of course, that is the most important thing that everyone is rushing to save. people all around me, volunteers and professionals likewise, are working around the clock to see if there are any survivors still underneath this rubble. >> woodruff: do they have the resources they need, chris to, get this done? >> they seem to have all the resources they need, especially in terms of manpower. i have been overwhelmed by the amount of volunteers and other rescue agencies from firefighters to ambulance drivers to civil protection agents, you name it, even the military is chipping in at this point. they're all working around the clock to help people. you have tents. you have cots that have been set up in parks. there's a sports center that has
been converted into a makeshift dormitory. so just in this town of amatrice, there are temporary beds set up for hundreds of people, and that's the case all across italy right now, thousands of temporary beds and housing have been set up. so the people do appear to have all the help they need. what they have working against them is perhaps the very thing that makes this part of italy so picturesque, and that's the fact that these are small hilltop towns with twisting and winding roads. those roads were not made for heavy vehicles, lots of ambulances, one after another. they're having to negotiate the road, oftentimes there's just not enough space for everyone to go in and out of these place, so they're relying heavily on helicopters to air evacpeople into nearby hospital, but also hospitals as far afield as rome, which is almost 100 miles from here. >> woodruff: christopher livsay in amatrice, thank you.
>> sreenivasan: 5,000 miles away from italy, another powerful earthquake rocked myanmar today, killing at least four people. the 6.8 magnitude quake struck near the town of chauk, 20 miles from the former capital of bagan. officials estimated almost a hundred of bagan's centuries-old buddhist pagodas were damaged. the devastation could have been worse, had the quake not hit so deep beneath the ground. >> woodruff: militants attacked the "american university of afghanistan" in kabul today. at least one person was killed and 18 more were wounded. foreign staff and dozens of students were reportedly trapped inside the compound. student witnesses said the shooting lasted for more than an hour. >> ( translated ): first an explosion happened, and then we heard the sound of gunfire. 20 of us were in the class. two bullets hit on the door of our classroom. >> woodruff: there was no immediate claim of responsibility. it is the second time this month
that the university or its staff have been targeted. >> sreenivasan: in south sudan, at least 275 people have died in fighting between government troops and rebel forces. each side blamed the other today for launching attacks in a northeastern town less than a week ago. those reports came after word that opposition leader riek machar-- who'd recently fled the country-- is now in sudan, for urgent medical attention. >> woodruff: north korea's successful launch of a ballistic missile triggered swift condemnation today. it was fired from a submarine, and flew over 300 miles-- within range of hitting south korea and parts of japan. it is the farthest distance the north has achieved for such a weapon. the foreign ministers of china, japan, and south korea denounced the launch today in tokyo, in a rare show of unity. >> ( translated ): china opposes north korea's nuclear missile program, and opposes any words or deeds that could cause tensions on the korean peninsula. china will adhere to its consistent and firm stand of
making persistent efforts towards denuclearization on the peninsula. >> woodruff: the u.s. state department echoed that sentiment, saying its commitment to protecting its allies in the region from north korean aggression was "iron-clad." >> sreenivasan: and stocks slipped on wall street today, led by drops in the health care and materials sectors. the dow jones industrial average lost nearly 66 points to close at 18,481. the nasdaq fell 42 points, and the s&p 500 dropped 11. >> woodruff: still to come on the newshour: vice president biden's visit to turkey amid a major military push into syria; the clinton foundation's president addresses the recent charges of a conflict of interest; refugees finding a new home in the arctic circle, and much more. >> woodruff: turkish military forces launched a major operation inside syria today, to retake the strategic border town
of jarablus from isis. turkish and american jets attacked from above, as turkish tanks and special forces moved into the town. syrian rebel groups were also part of the operation. beyond ousting isis from the area, turkey has another motive for attacking on jarablus: to stem the ambitions of the main u.s.-backed syrian kurdish militia, known as the y.p.g., which has been taking territory from isis. vice president biden was visiting turkey today and called upon the kurds to limit their advances. >> we have made it absolutely clear to the elements that are part of the syrian democratic forces, the y.p.g. that participated, that they must move back across the river. they cannot, will not and under no circumstances get american support if they do not keep that commitment-- period. >> woodruff: we examine the
significance of all of this now, with aaron stein, a senior fellow at the atlantic council's rafik hariri center for the middle east. aaron stein, thank you for being with us. >> thank you for having me. >> woodruff: so what is the significance of this incursion across the border into syria? >> i think the biggest one is it denies isis one of its last major crossing points across the syrian border. jarablus has been a historic place they have moved material across. so by turkey moving in, isis loses territory along its border, isis goes weaker. this is a good thing for the u.s. and turkey. >> woodruff: if it hadn't been for this move, it's possible the syrian kurds would have been in that territory sooner or later, is that not right? >> i think that's the issue. the united states is having to thread a very fine needle. it has to, one, prosecute the war against isis where the syrian kurds have become the most prominent ground force and the one capable of taking the most territory, while managing ties with a nato ally who is
very wary of the syrian kurds moving up to its boarder. >> woodruff: for some of these people, some terms are hard to follow. i mentioned the y.p.g., this particular syrian-kurdish group, but let me ask you about the u.s.'s interest here. until now it seems the u.s. has been careful to respect the role of the kurds in that region, despite the tension with turkey's government. what's changed? >> i don't think anything has changed. what i think is going on is in this previous operation, the one for the city a few miles south, they had turkish buy-in for heavy turkish presence contingent on the broader deal that the kurds, as the vice president said, would move back across the river. i think that's what the vice president was saying today, the kurds have to uphold their end of the bargain. the united states essentially told turkey they would make the kurds move back, and then concurrent to that, you have turkey moving into jarablus. syria is a very complicated place with a lot of moving parts. this is one of them. >> woodruff: let's back up and look at the larger geopolitical picture here, and that has to do
with the coup attempt in turkey just a month or so ago. that's really changed the dynamic, hasn't it, between the u.s. and turk year? >> right. i don't think anybody was planning for a coup on july 15th, a coup attempt on turkey on july 15th. that's obviously complicated relations large by because the person turkey accuses being the mastermind of the coup is a u.s. green card holder who lives in pennsylvania. there's been some back and forth about the 2 extradition process. turkey wish wes would hand him over, and the u.s. for very obvious reasons if you ask me, is making turkey follow all the legal step, because if you violate those legal step, if you take special measures even for an ally, it sends the wrong message. and sometimes an ally doesn't ask to turn people over. >> woodruff: so connect the dots between turkey's nervousness and asking to get the man extradited from the united states, and then turkey being anxious to put a stop to any potential kurdish move in syria, it connects the two
things. >> this is where politics become very important. the united states have incentive to support turkey, our nato ally, as it moves into syria, particularly jarablus. moving forward, that's where the questions will be. how long does turkey plan to stay in jarablus? does it have plans to move further? what is the u.s. role in this? i think we're still figuring that out as outsiders, and i would even say the u.s. government is still figuring that our because this operation has come together relatively quickly on the 2 the turbish sides, even if their plans have been on the shelf for the past year. >> woodruff: aaron stein, remind us why turkey is an important ally? >> they've been an ally since 1942. it's always hard to figure out why breaking an alliance is such a big deal, at a time when transnato alliances are under pressure from the republican candidate for the president similar you want to keep the transatlantic alliance in place. if you look beyond isis, the
threat to the islamic states, turkey is in the part of the world where the u.s. likes to play a role. we would like to have as many friends as possible. >> woodruff: but this is in part a case of the united states placating, wanting to make sure it stays on good terms with turkey as turkey deals with its insecurity when it comes to the kurds. >> i think we do have an incentive to reach back out to turkey, even though within turkey, there has been, in my opinion, sort of an overplaying of the anti-american card to deflect from what really has been a very traumatic passed month in turkey. a failed coup attempt, over 200 people killed, parliament was bombed. the military was really fractured. so this is a big problem, and the turkish leaders have leaned on anti-american sentiment to explain it away. >> woodruff: but bottom line, isis is a big enemy, but isis is not the only complicating factor in that part of the world. there's a lot going on between the turks and the kurds. >> absolutely. for turkey, the kurdish substate actor problem is always number
one. isis i would say is 1a, and now you have to have the man turkey claims is a substrate actor who they say carried out a coup attempt on july 15th and now lives in the united states. all three things came together. it's a very difficult time for u.s.-turkey relations because of it. >> woodruff: well, there are a lot of threads to follow here. we thank you for helping us understand what's going on. aaron stein, we appreciate it. >> my pleasure. thanks very much. >> sreenivasan: now, to the 2016 presidential race, and the growing scrutiny over bill and hillary clinton's namesake foundation. >> it's impossible to tell where the clinton foundation ends and the state department begins. >> sreenivasan: that was republican nominee donald trump today, in tampa, florida. the clinton foundation, a non- profit, was started back in 1997, and in less than two decades, has grown into a
philanthropic giant. in 2014, the foundation took in $338 million and had $250 million in expenses, geared toward improving global access to aids drugs, speaking out on women's rights, and more. but some of the countries that contribute to the clinton foundation struggle with human rights issues of their own, like saudi arabia, the united arab emirates, qatar and kuwait. and a recent "associated press" analysis found that about half of the 150 people from outside government who met with or spoke by phone with hillary clinton while she was secretary of state, either donated or pledged donations to the clinton foundation. this morning, clinton campaign manager robby mook responded: >> by our count, there were 1,700 other meetings that she had. you know, she was secretary of state. she was meeting with foreign officials and government officials constantly. so, to pull all of them out of
the equation, cherry-pick a very small number of meetings, is pretty outrageous. >> sreenivasan: and in a statement posted on monday, bill clinton said that if hillary is elected, the foundation would "accept contributions only from u.s. citizens, permanent residents and u.s.-based independent foundations," and not foreign or corporate entities. he also said he would step down from its board, and stop fundraising for it. >> the amounts involved, the favors done, and the significant number of times it was done require an expedited investigation by a special prosecutor immediately, immediately, immediately. >> sreenivasan: still, the republican ticket has seized on the clinton foundation as a line of attack in recent days: >> sreenivasan: but as trump's campaign stop today made clear, the questions swirling around the philanthropic group could keep on swirling, as the campaign moves into the final stretch.
we dig into the details now, with doug white, former director of columbia university's graduate fundraising management program, and an advisor to nonprofit groups and philanthopists; and james grimaldi, investigative reporter for the "wall street journal." doug dowrk let me start with you. what's the core critique of how the foundation operates? >> right now the core critique should be what its mission is accomplishing around the world. we don't know the specifics on that, but they are doing a lot of good work around the world from my estimation. >> sreenivasan: so is there an appearance of impropriety or a conflict of interest in how the foundation works or whether or not it increased access to secretary of state clinton? >> there is most definitely an appearance of impropriety, there's no doubt about that. my concern is about kind of influence prior to now has been linked to secretary clinton's office, and if she becomes president, what will the influence be then in i don't want to have a president who is
that enhanced by the donors of another charity so that when we have questions that are dealing with the issue of international relationships, we have to separate that from what a foundation is all about. >> sreenivasan: james grimaldi, what are the meetings that secretary of state clinton took that are raising these concerns? >> well, there was a recent associated press report that analyzed the calendars of secretary clinton. they looked at all the private meetings for the first half of her tenure at the state department, because that's all that's been released under the lawsuit they have under the freedom of information act. there were 145 meetings and about 85 i believe of those meetings were with clinton foundation donors some that raised the question about whether those meetings meant that if you paid money to the donation or gave some sort of
gift, it mend you would get expedited treatment at the state department. >> sreenivasan: even if this is a limited cross section, is there evidence or are there issues where she advocated on behalf of companies that might have contributed to the foundation? >> yes. i took a look at that question. we broke down all of the donors for the clinton foundation. we categorized them by size. then we looked at the largest corporation. of those corporations, we then compared them to lobbying records filed with the united states congress. when we did that, we found that 60 corporations that were lobbying the state department while health hillary clinton was secretary of state have given $26 million to the clinton foundation. in addition, they had participated in commitments they call them, charitable projects, with the clinton foundation, valued by the foundation at more than $2 billion. those are sort of big numbers. the billions did not go to the clinton foundation.
they went to charities and charitable activity, but the clinton foundation took some credit for those. so the question is: when these favors that hillary is doing for certain companies or these companies that are seeking favors from secretary clinton, were they giving because they were hoping she was going to help them out? now, in certain cases we know that she did help certain companies out, but in those cases, they were probably for logical, rational reasons any secretary of state, for example, lobbying the russians to buy jets from boeing, lobbying algeria to buy $2 billion worth of generators from general electric. but we also know that both of those companies, as well as others like microsoft, wal-mart who had asked for favors and gotten them, also had given gifts to the clinton foundation, either before, during or after those favors were performed by secretary clinton. >> sreenivasan: doug white, how do we sort out intent?
if a boeing or microsoft says, this is in our best interest. we believe in the causes the clinton foundation is working on? >> i think what jim said is absolutely correct. you can't really parse out intent. as a result of that, that's why we have the larger question of really accept rating the clintons from the foundation. it's not just that there is a conflict of interest. it's the execution of conflict of interest, and as long as she has the ability to be perceived as having a favor or a favorite place or person, then the public is going to be very excited about that and very upset about that. i don't think that's the kind of anchor she needs going into her presidency should she be elected. >> sreenivasan: james grimaldi, what about the steps that president bill clinton and the foundation are planning to take going forward if mrs. clinton is elected to the white house? >> well, that's interesting. they seem to be almost in flux. as you just reported, they will stop taking corporate and
foreign government gifts, however, we found out recently, just in the last couple of days, there is a major exception to that. it's possible and perhaps even likely that the clinton global health access initiative, which has a separate board, may actually continue to take foreign government contributions and corporate gifts. this was revealed to us today in our questioning. while we found out that bill clinton will leave the clinton foundation board, we now know that chelsea clinton, their daughter, is going to remain on the board, and we don't know, because they haven't said or apparently have not decided, she may actually be raising money for the clinton foundation going forward. so there's a possibility that we will have a president of the united states whose daughter is raising millions of dollars for their foundation while the remnants of their foundation going into her administration. that has to be a cloud that will
probably hang over her if there ends up being appearances of conflicts of interest. >> sreenivasan: james grimaldi, dough >> sreenivasan: and we are joined now by donna shalala, president of the clinton foundation. she served as secretary of health and human services in the bill clinton white house. >> madam secretary, thanks for joining us. members of hillary clinton's campaign as well as your foundation have said recently that there has been no conflict of interest, and the meetings that secretary clinton took with those people who also happen to be donors to the clinton foundation, can you see the appearance of impropriety? >> well, our goal is to eliminate all appearance of impropriety if mrs. clinton is elected, and the president has already announced not only that we won't take any corporate donations or foreign donations, but he will leave a role in governance, he will leave the board of the foundation.
and as for the other organizations, which are partner, we will make sure that both the governance is clean, but more importantly, that those programs are spun off, either as separate 5 501(c)(3)s without our participation, or we'll find partners that will take over the responsibility. we help millions of people around the world. there are 100,000 farmers in east africa that depend on the clinton programs for their seeds, for technical assistance, for training. we have to make sure that whether they're women entrepreneurs in latin america or farmers in africa or asia that all of these programs are seamlessly transferred either to other organizations or to become independent organizations. we've already announced that the clinton global initiative, the great matchmaker between not-for-profit foundations and
corporations to do wonderful charity work around the world, that that will end after this september's conflict. so we're taking very strong steps, but it would be irresponsible to do all of this before she is elected. and so if she is elected, we will take very strong steps that will make it very clear that the clinton foundation has no conflict of interest, as many as we can reduce, by thinning off or finding partners for our major programs. some domestic programs we'll keep. we have full responsibility for the clinton presidential library, for the clinton center in little rock, which has tremendous economic interests and impact on arkansas. so people forget the clinton foundation includes a major
presidential library and center. >> sreenivasan: i don't think anybody would fault president clinton for wanting to be involved in his own library, but how about having president clinton, chelsea clinton, as well, step away completely from the foundation. there are lots of foundations doing the work you're interested in and good at. >> in fact, we will find partners, successful partners to make sure that the programs that we have continue and continue seamlessly. that's what we're working on now. the president has made this announcement. chelsea has said that she is going to stay on the foundation board to provide oversight for this transformation, and we'll have announcements about her role in the future, as well, but i think the important thing is that all of this will take place and will make sure it's in place if mrs. clinton is elected. we have a responsibility to millions of people around the world that we have... that our programs have an impact on. and we simply cannot walk away
from that. the idea that we could just close down the foundation without carefully going program-by-program, and making certain that the people that are served by those programs actually continue to get those kinds of services would be irresponsible. >> sreenivasan: if mrs. clinton does win the white house, will chelsea clinton step away from the board? >> we will have an announcement if mrs. clinton is elected. i think the important thing now is that we've made a series of statements about what we're going to do with the programs, the major programs we're very clear about. and we have some smaller programs that we're working through, thinking about what partners and talking to partners. >> sreenivasan: sure. >> all of this takes place if she is elected. >> sreenivasan: president bill clinton is no stranger to politics. neither is health hillary clint.
even as she was being confirmed for secretary of state position, several senators tried to bring this up, the appearance of impropriety, the potential conflicts of interest, but the question really is that does the foundation offer an opportunity, a vehicle to access a secretary of state, a senator or possibly a president? in these e-mails we see people have who have given significant amounts of money have access or have had access at short notice to her. is that a coincidence? >> i wouldn't describe it as a coincidence, but let me say this : we know very clearly what conflict of interest we have to eliminate as part of the foundation. we're focused on the foundation program. and no one should assume if they give a gift to the foundation that they're going to get access to mrs. clinton or to president clinton because of that. for the purposes of changing public policy.
and we're committed to that. the president is committed to that. there was a memorandum of agreement between the secretary and the administration that she went into. i think it was signed off on by the foreign relations committee. and while we made one small mistake in my judgment in terms of what we were supposed to submit through that process, as far as i'm concerned we have kept to that agreement, but more importantly, what we're doing now is very significant. we cannot do the same types of things that we did when she was secretary of state. we have to take a much stronger position to eliminate any perception of conflict of interest. >> sreenivasan: i think that right now unfortunately because this is the political season, the examples that are being brought up in these e-mails happen to be in the public domain now. right? you have a billionaire that was coincidentally at a breakfast meeting at the new york stock
exchange. the next day the state department starts working on a visa request on his behalf. the wife of another billionaire who got a last-minute meeting. we have another billionaire. i mean, it sort of, without having to cherry pick individual meetings, it clearly to the american public points out that there seem to be a line, if you help the foundation, you had access to mrs. clinton. i think the concern is... >> i think we have to be careful about that conclusion. the major companies in the united states, the multinationals spend billions of dollars lobbying in washington. so i don't think that anyone has made any connection there. but here's what's important: what's important to us is that there are millions of people around the world whose lives are improved by the work of the clinton foundation. whose lives have been changed by the work of the clinton foundation. we have to make sure that work continues. the president has reinvented
philanthropy in in country. this is an extraordinary foundation. and no one in the foundation wants to see these attacks or in any way be perceived as having a conflict of interest. and by the end of the election, if she wins, it will be very clear to the american people what we will do and what programs will remain in the foundation. the only thing i can assure you at the moment is the clinton library is going to remain in the foundation and that the president is going to visit his foundation, library. >> sreenivasan: okay. thank you. donna shalala, president of the clinton foundation. thank you for joining us. >> woodruff: stay with us. coming up on the newshour: a drastic spike in the price of epipens used to combat allergic reactions; and the astronomical discovery of an earth-like planet.
but first, anti-immigrant sentiment is on the rise in europe and it has spread to iceland, one of the more unusual destinations for refugees from the war in syria. but many people on this island in the middle of the north atlantic welcome the prospect of their traditionally white, christian nation, becoming more multicultural. special correspondent malcolm brabant reports from the icelandic capital, reykjavik. >> reporter: outside iceland's tiny parliament, pro-refugee supporters outnumber and encircle a group from a new party called the icelandic national front, which objects to recent legislation relaxing rules on immigration. one of their standard bearers: nurse maria magnusdottir. >> we do not want people who are not adapting to our culture, like for example, muslims. i'm not saying all muslims are bad people. but unfortunately, they are not adapting to cultures.
so, like, in europe, we can see two cultures in most of those countries. and that is what we are afraid of. >> reporter: one of the cheerleaders on the other side is salman tamimi, a palestinian imam , who stopped off in iceland en route to north america in the 1970s, and never left. >> you see how many supporters are, five, six, ten times more than the other guys. and this is how icelandic society is, really. we have maybe 2% or 3% who are what i call racists and fascists. but the majority is nice people and we are happy for their support that we are getting. >> the population is very small here in iceland. we are very few persons. and if you open all the borders then we're in trouble.
>> reporter: "this is a disgusting use of the flag," shouts logi stefansson, a well known musician who shares icelandic and angolan heritage. >> they want to basically keep the culture white. they're talking about, they have 800 asylum seekers coming next year, which is a disgraceful number, that's too small. they just want white supremacy. seriously, the system for asylum seekers in iceland is disgusting. they're treated like dogs. >> reporter: but the treatment afforded the almohammad family from aleppo has been exemplary. the almohammads left syria for lebanon in 2012, signed up for the u.n. refugee resettlement program, and in january were told they were going to iceland. although it was not their choice, english teacher khattab, is not complaining. >> this is now the dream of most of the syrians. to restore the happiness of their children and find a means for making this happen. and we were very lucky to be
here, for example, and have this chance to play, because other children in syria are killed by our criminal president and his supporters. >> reporter: al mohammad's wife, their six children and his mother, have been given a three- bedroom apartment in middle class neighborhood of akureyri, a northern town less than forty miles from the arctic circle. >> we found a lot of similarities between the two societies. for example, such as the safety of children, the educational system, healthcare, they are free in syria, and now we found it here. and the most difficult obstacle was the weather, the climate itself, so. we used to have sunny days, a little bit of a cold winter, but not snow for example, for six months. it's very hard for us.
>> reporter: the local council is working hard to integrate the newcomers and the refugee coordinator is visiting to help the family with temporary citizenship documents, that will enable them to travel freely throughout europe. al khattab is looking to get off welfare benefits and is seeking a business partner to set up a restaurant. >> although we appreciate their help, we want to participate in this society and in the economy of this country. so we don't like to be living on this kind of charity. and i suppose all the syrians are trying their best in different places. we are normally independent. we don't like to be dependent on someone. >> ( translated ): >> i'm very happy. icelanders are good people. the country is very generous and welcoming. and we are proud to be here and to be part of this country. >> ( translated ): >> i'm happy here. i have friends to play ball with.
>> ( translated ): of course it's better here, and secure. the living here is good, especially the kids' school. >> reporter: akureyri is a bustling town of 18,000 people, popular with tourists for whale watching and another nature pursuits. the council is anxious to avoid the mistakes of much bigger countries, which have created ghettoes by placing immigrants together. in a nation of just 330,000 people, it's much easier to house refugees amongst icelanders. the town's red cross has organized a support group whose purpose is to help the newcomers find their feet and bloom. >> i hope that if at some point iceland would be a war zone or something like that, someone somewhere else on the planet would welcome me as well as they possibly can. >> i think of our country as just part of the global village. nobody can decide where they're born and i think everyone should have a fair chance. >> reporter: two of the volunteers are heading out to
the house of an electrician from damascus called joumaa naser, who lives with his wife and their five children. >> they don't speak english but they're very quick at practicing icelandic. and we are helping them to learn. i want to teach them how to be themselves in our society and to use the icelandic language. >> reporter: as the girls help one of the younger children with his icelandic, the town's cultural coordinator is on hand to translate a conversation between one of the sons, who is just about to start high school, and his new teachers. joumaa naser's skills as an electrician are in demand, and he's happy to be working. >> ( translated ): in the long term future, we haven't yet decided what's going to happen. but for the immediate future we are settling here. this is good for the children. they feel safe here. they'll get an education here. but ultimately our aim is to get back to syria, when it's safe to do so. >> reporter: much of the debate about refugees and immigration centers on multi-culturalism and religion. but the realpolitik of hard cash has entered the fray.
ever since the financial crisis of 2008, iceland has been trying to get back on its feet and it has succeeded. the economy is booming. the growth rate is about 4% a year, and according to the country's business leaders, iceland needs 2,000 immigrants a year to maintain that level of growth. akureyri's mayor eiríkur björgvinsson is very clear where he stands on the issue. >> some people say that the people, immigrants, need also social support. so it is also money getting out. but they are giving more back than they have actually received. maybe they have received something for months or years but in the long term they will give much more back than they have received. >> reporter: as elsewhere in europe, some icelanders have a profound fear, if not phobia of islam. >> islam is a group of values. not only just praying and a beard, but values. the values of islam, we see it here, so why are they afraid? the value to be honest, the value to be helpful, the value
to be democratic, the value of being human. these are the values of islam. we found them here. we missed them in syria. but we found them here. >> sreenivasan: now, anger, criticism and concern over the soaring cost for a life-saving allergy shot. john yang has the story. >> yang: the price of epipen has jumped more than 400% since 20 09. back then pharmacies paid $10 3 for a set of two. as of may, the price spiked to $608. mylan, the drug company that botd epipens in 2007, says nearly 80% of commercially insured patients don't pay anything at all. and they have given away
hundreds of thousands of epipens for free. but more than 3.5 million prescriptions were written last year, and some consumers are paying hundreds of dollars depending on their insurance coverage. now the issue is attracting political attention. today hillary clinton called the price hike outrageous, and senators from both parties are calling for hearings and explanations from the company. democratic senator amy klobuchar of minnesota joins us now. senator klobuchar, everyone has known someone, as we were talking about earlier, knows someone who is carrying one of these epipens, but you have very direct personal experience. >> yes, john. my daughter abigail, when she was just four or five years old, we gave her a cash shiewsm we were in the middle of the north woods, and she could hardly breathe from that cashew. i remember that nearly mile-long drive to the hospital not knowing if she would make it. that started our journey with
allergies. she still carries an epipen today. when she was growing up, we all had to learn how to stick it into her thigh. that's how it is for so many parents and so many patients that carry those today. so to go from $100 to $600, a $400 to -- a 4400% to 500% increase, to me this is an outrage. it really is not an isolated incident. we're seeing other companies do this, as well, pharmaceutical companies, with lifesaving drugs every day. >> yang: we should say we invited mylan to join us. they said they couldn't make anyone available today. they did issue a statement. they talked about the changes they've made in the product over the years, but they also pointedded to insurance companies, the changing nature of the insurance companies with the growth of high deductible plans. they said this ongoing shift has presented new collages for
consumers, and now they are bearing more of the cost. what's your response? what's your reaction to that? >> okay. well, first of all, they probably have made some improvements, but there is no way those improvements are at a 500% margin on the original product. how could they be 500% more than the product itself in terms of the value? that makes no sense to me. secondly, when it comes to the fact that they have been selling these things at this high price and they blame insurance companies and government and everyone else, their profit margin is the one that's gone up. they're the ones that made more money, and the fact that you have these high deductible plan, it just means consumers starting to see what they've charged for years. before it was buried. before the taxpayers were paying it because the companies were paying it or the government was paying it. and that does not at all take away from the fact that you can get the exact same product for hundreds of dollars less in canada. they are making money off the
backs of people with allergies and particularly families with kids with allergies that really have to buy not just two of these but four of them, six of them a year because they have to have some at school, they have to have some in their bags. they have to have some at grandmas, things get lost. this is not the product they should have chosen to make these dramatic price increases on. >> yang: you said the same product is being said in canada for how much? >> hundreds of dollars less. of course, it varies. i've had a lot of people write in to my facebook page that they can get it online from a canadian pharmacy or in australia for $180678 one bill bill -- $180. one bill i have with john mccain would be to allow competitive products, the importation of products from canada. >> yang: which the ranking democrat on the anti-trust committee, you've called for hearings, you've called for the s.e.c. to look into this. what can you do in congress?
>> well, i just keep talking about it and going to my colleagues and saying, this is getting to the point now where we have to have a vote on. this we have to pass something. and i'm going to continue to do that. i think having regular people call into their members of congress is going to make a big difference here. any of these bills would be helpful, but i think the most helpful is we go into a new year and a new administration would be negotiations under med d for the problem as a whole where you have seen, you know, 100% increase in four of the top ten drugs in just the last few years. and negotiations under medicare part d would harness the power of all of america's seniors. those prices go down and then it helps with other insurance plans, as well. >> yang: senator, i have to ask you, one fact that's getting a lot of attention is that the c.e.o. of this company is the daughter of one of your democratic colleague, the daughter of senator joe manchin of west virginia. is this an issue you would talk to senator manchin about?
>> well, no, senator manchin has always kept at arm's-length with me when dealing with any issues with this company, so i haven't seen this as something where he's been somehow carrying the water for his daughter or improperly involved. i want to make that clear. at the same time, phrma as a whole, there is no doubt they've been against these bills. i just mentioned, many of which are bipartisan, and so it is time to get votes on these bills and the move forward as well as have an investigation into this individual case with epipen. >> yang: senator klobuchar, thanks so much for joining us. >> it was good to be on. thanks for covering this important issue. >> sreenivasan: time now for our weekly segment on science, called "the leading edge," and the discovery of another possible "earth-like" planet that is grabbing worldwide attention today. it is true scientists have
previously said they believe there are other planets outside our solar system that resemble earth in size and may have liquid water. but this latest finding is the closest planet yet found. yes, it's four light years from earth, just a mere 25 trillion miles away. but travel there may be possible by the end of the century. the planet is called "proxima b" circling a small star called "proxima centauri." as shown in this animation, it's thought to be about 1.3 times the mass of earth, probably rocky like the earth, and possibly warm enough for liquid water. let's learn more from our science correspondent and resident space expert, miles o'brien. miles, first of all, why are they so excited about this? we've heard about these planets, the goldilocks not too hot, not too cold places before? >> location, location, location, hari. we're talking more than 3,000 planets total and growing by the
minute, but this is the closest one that's been discovered, and that is what has scientists quite interested. four light years is a trip to the convenience store in light years. so the idea there might be something somewhat within the realm of attainable if we come up with some really cool rocket propulsion ideas gets people think. >> sreenivasan: how do we know it is what it is? we can't see it with our eyes. the telescopes that see things didn't really get a picture of this planet? >> it's indirect. imagine coming down a darkened highway with its high beams on. you don't know anything about that car, but there are some ways to figure this out using some interesting technology. in space what they used was the slight wobble that occurs as these two bodies interact with each other. as the planet orbits around, the star itself moves ever so slightly. that's enough to infer that its presence are there. there are a few other ways to do it. you can actually detect the slight diminishment of light as
the planet passes in front of the star and infer that its presence is there that way. that's how the kepler space telescope has done its work so well over the years for nasa. >> sreenivasan: tell us what scientists think they know about this planet in relation to the earth. >> well, i don't think we want to live there, hari. it's 11 days around its star, so an 11-day year. it is tidily locked, which means there is a light side always and a dark side always. so i suppose the real estate on the light side might be better. i don't know. if you're a night owl, maybe you want to go to the other side. it's very close to its star, but the star itself is a brown dwarf that's a pretty wimpy star. so it can be closer and be in what scientists call "the goldie locks zone," the just right zone where the temperatures are just right for water to exist in liquid form. here's the thing to remember: wherever we look on this planet, no matter where we go, deep down in the ocean, in acid springs in
yellowstone, if there is liquid water, we find life. >> sreenivasan: so even under this star's light, there could be some subterranean life underground or whatever constitutes ground on that planet in. >> it will take a while, maybe a decade to figure this all out. because again, we haven't seen it directly. but this is something that has scientists intrigued. as technology improves, nasa will be launching another spacecraft coming up in a year or so that will be a little more powerful and will be looking a little bit closer to us than its predecessor kepler,. possibly it will solve some of those questions for us and determine if, in fact, there might be life that close to us. >> sreenivasan: there are some projects at least planned on getting very, very small censors or objects out further into space? how could we ever in our lifetime, maybe not in our lifetime, our children's lifetime, reach this to get a look at it? >> we have to think about new ways of doing propulsion in
space, some sort of nuclear option is what we're talking about here. once you get into space, if you can have steady propulsion that never stops, fueled by some sort of nuclear reaction, you can continue to accelerate because there's no friction in space, of course. so ultimately you can develop some real speed and potentially some ideas on the drawing board could make that trip of four light years something on the order of a century or maybe a little less. right now if you wanted to say launch the space shuttle, not that it could go there, but if you wanted to just for point of reference, it would be more than 100,000 years to get there. voyager, for example, just leaving our solar system, if you aimed it at this newly discovered planet, voyager would take about 70,000 years to get there. that gives you an idea. it not just billions and billion, we're talking trillions and trillions. >> sreenivasan: and the get a photo back from there would take
years too. >> four and a half light years away, so it's four and a half years to get any transmission back and forth. so it would be really hard to engage in any sort of jokes with the people who might live on this planet. you know, comedy is timing, of course. >> sreenivasan: right. miles o'brien joining us from boston. thanks so much. >> you're welcome. >> woodruff: you're going, right? >> sreenivasan: sure. >> sreenivasan: and that's the newshour for tonight. i'm hari sreenivasan. >> woodruff: and i'm judy woodruff. join us online, and again here tomorrow evening. for all of us at the pbs newshour, thank you, and good night. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: >> lincoln financial-- committed to helping you take charge of your financial future. >> bnsf railway. >> xq institute. >> md anderson cancer center. making cancer history.
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